Finance minister denies his office was bugged

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Old 22-Jun-2011
Finance minister denies his office was bugged

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday denied reports that his office may have been bugged.

Reacting to a report published by The Indian Express, Mukherjee said that intelligence agencies did not find anything suspicious during their probe.

"In respect of news item, IB [Intelligence Bureau] investigated into it and they found there is nothing," Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September last year requesting him to order a secret inquiry, indicating there was a serious security breach in his North Block office that could have wide ramifications.

Secret inquiry

"The PM [prime minister] may consider ordering a secret inquiry into why and how this breach occurred and who is responsible for this action," Mukherjee had written in his letter addressed to the prime minister.

Mukherjee demanded a secret inquiry after the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) inspectors found adhesives at 16 key locations of the finance ministry during a routine security check on September 4.

Apparently, the breach took place between mid-June and early September since the earlier routine security check conducted in June had detected nothing suspicious.


Adhesives were found on the table of Mukherjee's office as well as those of his adviser Omita Paul, his private secretary Manoj Pant and two conference rooms used by the finance minister, including the main conference hall on the ground floor of the North Block office of the finance ministry, which is located just across the road from South Block which houses the Prime Minister's office, Home Ministry, Defence Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs.

In his letter to the prime minister, Mukherjee had mentioned that no live microphone or recording devices were found.

CBDT hired a private detective agency after the adhesives were planted at critical places and a closer examination revealed grooves on the surface which indicated that some tiny devices could have been planted and later pulled out.

The Intelligence Bureau, however, concluded that this was merely chewing gum and there was no evidence of any bugging.

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